Chapter 12 of 50 Shades Darker: Christian Grey and the I Can’t Even

Mrs. Robinson arrives, dressed entirely in black because she is evil. I imagine she looks something like this:

We find out that Mrs. Robinson pops in randomly during the week to chat – and today she has a problem. Elena (her actual name) is stunned that Ana is there, since Christian’s subs are strictly a weekend thing. Christian explains that Ana is his girlfriend now, and since they are in looooovvvve Elena can’t just show up anymore.

Elena announces that she’s being blackmailed for a ridiculously small amount of money. She produces a ransom note and tries to get Christian to touch it. Touch it. Yesssss…touch it. She tells him there’s no need to worry about fingerprints because she cannot possibly go to the police.
Because OBVIOUSLY people as immoral as she don’t deserve to be protected by the police.*eyeroll*

Christian and Elena try to hash out who might have sent the letter, but ultimately they have no idea. They wonder if it is someone in the “community”, and throw out a bunch of names. Ana has no idea who or what they are talking about, and trying to think makes her tired so she decides to go to bed.

Christian offers to pay the ransom, and offers to have his crack team investigate. Because we’ll all know how great they are. As soon as Ana is out of the room, Elena and Christian start gossiping about Ana. So instead of going to bed, Ana stays outside and eavesdrops on the conversation. She “can’t help it.” Sure. Whatever gets you through the night. Elena moans that Ana cannot possibly want to stay with Christian knowing all his flaws, and Christian gets all mad. He tells her Ana knows him, “better than anyone.” Elena is hurt, because she is his bestest bestie. Like, 4 eva!

Christian tells her to buzz off because Ana doesn’t understand their relationship and just how deeply, utterly platonic it is. Elena insists that he, “make her understand.” Easier said than done lady. Easier said than done. Ana doesn’t understand just about everything. I’m not sure how she managed before she had Christian’s servants to do everything for her. I’m not entirely convinced that she did. In fact I suspect that Kate is not her ‘roommate’ but actually her personal care provider.

Then Christian goes full emo and gives us this gem, “It’s in the past Elena, and why would I want to taint her with our fucked-up relationship? She’s good and sweet and innocent, and by some miracle she loves me.”

Elena changes tactics and tells him what a great catch he is, despite telling him the exact opposite just a minute ago. What is it with this book? No one can keep their opinions straight. Elena asks him if he doesn’t miss his playroom, just a bit. Christian is even more furious and kicks Elena out, but not before telling her it’s none of her fucking business.

Anastasia is my future! He insists. So get out, past lover, get out! They bicker a bit before Elena actually leaves, and Ana is surprised that they actually sound like old friends. Like Christian insists. But Ana is confused, and stands there, rusty brain-gears grinding, trying to figure it out. You’re sooo close Ana. Just a little farther.

Elena leaves, and Ana ‘scampers’ to bed so Christian doesn’t know she listened to the conversation.

Christian comes to bed and Ana tells Christian that she loathes Elena. She insists that Christian has no other friend because Elena has kept him away from all other people. The way you are doing right now Ana? I guess you’d know.

Christian ramps up the anger train again – it is pretty annoying that he has to tell Ana time and time again that they are just friends. Then he breaks down and tells her it’s all very confusing because he has never had to justify himself to anyone or learned that his actions have consequences.

Wat?

Since Christian never had a future with anyone, he never had to justify his past…Wahhhhhhh!!! Oh Christian! Let me call the Waaambulance!

That’s Ok, Ana says. I am totally sooo not jealous. And that’s totally not bullshit. Even Ana isn’t sure this is true.

They spend a long boring time trying to figure out just how gross and exploitive Christian’s relationship with Elena was or wasn’t. I’m bored. Let’s look at kittens.

After going around in circles for paragraph after paragraph Christian declares, “I’m really bored of this subject.” Me too! Thank God we’re in agreement. Let’s never speak of evil ex number one again.

Christian turns the subject to Ana’s new car which has arrived a day early. Ana excitedly asks if she can drive it. No, Christian tells her, Absolutely not. Then they fight over that until Christian gets mad and leaves.

Ana groans theatrically about how they can never have a normal conversation. The fact that they are both Extreme Drama Queens doesn’t occur to her. What does occur to her is just as disturbing. She wants to bring Christian a cup of…something…to make him feel better, but she doesn’t know if he likes tea or coffee. In fact she has no idea about his likes or dislikes as a general rule.

You just moved in with this guy Ana. Don’t you think these are the sort of things you would want to know?

Ana changes into her jim jams and gets totally dazzled by the Richie richness of the clothes Christian buys. Shiny! They all fit perfectly and flatter her figure even though the personal shopper bought them without any knowledge of Ana. Unrealistic!

Ana wanders off to the Beauty and the Beast Memorial Library to find a book to read. She decides she ought to be able to take more pain for the man she loves. That’s what all good relationships are about, at the core. Moar pain! And the taking of it.

As always, she reads one sentence and falls fast asleep.

Ana wakes in the middle of the night to Christian’s expert piano playing. His expert, middle of the night super-emo piano playing. Ana is surprised. “Why does this always take me by surprise?” Ana asks herself. Well honey, it’s because you’re dumb.

Ana and Christian make kissy-face and Christian asks why do they fight? Why, oh why!?

Well, let me explain. You are both Drama Queens. Really that explains sooo much .

Ana says it’s because they are just getting to know each other, and Christian is stubborn. Yeah. That’s pretty normal. Normal couples always have an overdramatic fighting phase right at the beginning. It’s how you tell they are in love. It’s like they are still in grade school. I know Christian loves me because he put a frog in my lunch bag, and pulled my pigtail.

They make out at the piano, and though she manages to use the word clitoris just a sentence or two farther on, Ana is still calling her genitals a “there.” It’s OK Ana, just show us on the doll where he touched you.

Then they get bizzay on the piano. Okay, do pianos have weight limits? I mean can you just fuck on a piano like that without it breaking? Are pianos tested for that? If I wrote this book the piano would totally break and they’d tumble to the floor in a tangle of piano wire, overpriced fruitwood splinters and bruised limbs. Because seriously. That’s baloney.

We fade to black for the sex, because apparently we’ve all seen enough.

Afterwards Ana decides its high time to find out what Christian likes. It turns out that he is too fancy for both tea and coffee – he drinks wine. Just Google “most expensive wine” I’m pretty sure he drinks that.

Then it’s the next day! Presumably they slept on the piano, because we aren’t told any different. Ana asks about Christian’s nightmares, the ones he doesn’t have now that they are together, because Ana has cured his PTSD with her goody goodness! Here’s an actual quote from the book:

“Do you wake up crying and screaming?” I try vainly to joke.

Ok, that’s not even dumb. That’s just plain mean. What the hell is wrong with Ana? How could that ever be appropriate after the huge deal we’ve made about Christian’s uber traumatic childhood? Honestly, Ana is written with all the worldly good sense and impulse control of a six year old. Oddly, Christian isn’t infuriated by this, he’s confused.

Ana quizzes him about his childhood, and Christian continues to be thoroughly confused by it. Ana says, “he gazes at me as if I don’t understand the elementary math of two plus two.” Because you don’t. He says his adoptive mother ‘saved him’ and Ana asks how? By adopting him you moron. The ‘Ana is dumb’ jokes get really old but she just never stops being totally dumb.

You just blow in from stupid town?

Christian lightens the mood by making some innuendos and Ana is scandalised. Scandalised! They have sex again, but who can be bothered to describe all that boring sex when we could skip straight ahead to what they are eating for breakfast?

They fight a bit more and Christian drops Ana off at work. On the way, Christian gets a phone call from Elena telling him that the ransom note was just a prank from her sub, Isaac.

Great! That’s great, but here’s where they lost me. He snaps his Blackberry shut. Is that a thing Blackberries ever did?

I had to look that up. Blackberry only ever made 2 clamshells, that last being the Blackberry Style, which launched in 2010 – late enough considering this book was published in 2011. It came preloaded with MySpace (remember MySpace? Me neither. Who the fuck was using My Space in 2010?) and cost under $200 dollars. So while it’s technically possible Christian was rocking Blackberry’s last-gasp economy clamshell, I still doubt it. You’d think Richie Rich could afford a higher end phone…

Ana gets to work and is accosted by her lecherous boss who compliments her on her dress. The lecher! And sends her for a coffee. The slave driver! Ana does two whole things before launching into an ex tended gossip section with Claire from Reception. Claire has just arrived from 1957, and tells Ana that her boyfriend is soooo dreamy.

His eyes are so dreamy!

When she eventually wanders back to her office, Ana is stunned that her boss actually wanted his coffee while it was still hot. She whines internally that it always takes her that long to get his coffee. Evil boss piles on the work and Ana proceeds to email Christian instead of doing any of it. The emails are, basically, an extended game of “No, you hang up.” and are just as gripping to be subjected to.

Ana gets sent after her boss’s lunch again but this time she is escorted by Christian’s crack security guy, Sawyer. He tells Ana they haven’t heard anything from crazy ex number 2. It’s all good, no need to worry.

Ana’s boss comes back and asks for coffee a little too sexfully for Ana’s liking and Ana goes right back to emailing Christian instead. Kate’s brother shows up looking for the keys to her apartment, the one she shares with Kate, and Claire from reception tells us how dreamy he is too.

Apparently Claire is an android, and can only say one thing.

But whatever, work is finally, mercifully over and Ana and Christian head off to pick up Kate’s brother for dinner. My first thought was Oh God, do I have to sit through Christian being jealous of yet another guy who Ana has ZERO feelings for? Fucking sweet.

KEEP CALM AND SHOOT ME NOW Poster

But fate has other plans for our crappy couple.

Christian waits in the car while Ana heads into her apartment totally without an escort of any kind. Because suddenly security is no longer an issue. Ana is buzzed in and is happy to see that Kate’s brother left the door open for her. Yes. She is that stupid.

Once inside of course it isn’t Kate’s brother at all! It’s crazy ex number 2. With a gun. Oh please God shoot her please! Put her out of my misery! I’m so excited! But the chapter ends here and I have to wait until next time to find out what lame plot device they use to escape the clutches of evil ex number 2.

Dave Barry Learns Everything You Need to Know About Being a Husband From Reading 50 Shades of Grey

Dave Barry on 50 Shades. 🙂

TIME

So I read Fifty Shades of Grey. This is the book written by female British author “E. L. James” that became a huge bestseller, devoured by pretty much every woman on Earth except my wife (or so she claims).

I think I might be the only man who read this book. I did it sneakily, hiding the cover, especially when I was on an airplane, which actually is a good place to read this book because you have access to a barf bag. I say this because of the writing style, which is . . . OK, here’s one tiny sample of the writing style:

“Did you give him our address?”
“No, but stalking is one of his specialties,” I muse matter-of-factly.
Kate’s brow knits further.

That’s right: This is the kind of a book where, instead of saying things, characters muse them, and they are somehow able to…

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Chapter 11 and the Way-Too-Longedness

Okay, I’ll say it: Chapter 11 is just too fucking long.

We closed out Chapter 10 with Ana aghast at Christian’s pronouncement that he wants to spank her and then sex her up right on the pool table, if he wins. And of course, he *does* win. Why wouldn’t he?

Christian asks if Ana is going to be a sore loser. Geddit?! Sore? Loser?

Ana answers that it depends how hard he is going to spank her. Can you roll your eyes so hard that your brain twists out of your ears? Is that a thing? Because I might be pretty close here. Their dialogue is SO GROSS! It’s like Captain Hammer is dating himself.

Christian orders Ana to disrobe and she suddenly can’t move. She is, ‘like a complete zombie, my heart pounding, my blood pumping.’ Well, damn! We won’t be having any of those fucked up *incomplete* zombies. And are pounding hearts and pumping blood things that zombies even have? Aren’t they, you know, dead? Either way, it is some gifted prose writing.

Then suddenly, little Miss Mood-a-Minute doesn’t want to be spanked anymore. Remember how she hated spanking? And then last chapter she was mad because she wanted some spanking? Well, now she’s gone over to the anti-spanking camp again. She repeats to herself, this is for him. This is for him.

And she never does take her clothes off. She tells Christian to do it himself, and he obliges, with so much Zapp Brannigan level sexy banter.

Christian then picks up a ruler and menaces Ana with it. She soaks her panties and marvels how much she loves this man. Because it’s only the love that makes it sexy. Christian takes off Ana’s panties and kisses her “there.” I’m serious. “There.” Can I point out that we are two hundred and forty-two pages into the second book of the sex trilogy of the decade and we are still calling Ana’s lady garden a “there.”

Then they talk about the safe word. Christian insists that Ana tell him if he is too rough and Ana is confused about why he confirms this several times. Oh, Ana, you really are our special little bunny, aren’t you? First, Ana isn’t very bright, so it’s likely best for him to confirm that her consent is a thing and that she can withdraw that consent at any time. Second, last time this happened, she refused to use the safe word and then broke up with him because he was too rough.

Then a weird thing happens. I mean, weirder than normal. At this point it’s just one more weird drop lost in a vast sea of what-the-fuck. But you see where I’m going. Christian announces that there will be no safe word. Ana should just tell him to stop, because they are in love now and people who are in love do not need safe words.

You know, unless they are into that sort of thing. Which they are. Ostensibly. So, all you deviants and perverts out there, be warned that you cannot really be in love with your partner, properly in love, if you engage in any play that requires a safe word. I hope I cleared up any misconceptions you may have had.

Straightedge walrus DISAPPROVES OF YOUR LIFE CHOICES - Straightedge walrus DISAPPROVES OF YOUR LIFE CHOICES  Judgmental Walrus

Seriously though, how fucking insulting is that?

Ana, now naked, is briefly scared that the pool cue from last chapter is going to get involved somehow, but other than a few waggled eyebrows, nothing comes of it. She is still afraid, but now that she is innnnn looooove she is more than happy to indulge Christian’s urge to dole out punishment, even though she doesn’t like it. Except that she does. Except when she doesn’t.

Christian forces her to try to play pool naked, while he spanks her and insults her playing ability. Ana’s personalities go through their various exercise routines at the mere thought of this situation. After warming up, the Inner Goddess personality tangos around the room with a rose between her teeth. Maybe Ana, maybe you ought to pay attention to the sex? Hey? Ana? ANA!

Ana consistently misses her shots, because it’s not easy to play pool while having sex. Christian tells her that if she misses again he will let her have it. Ana wonders, “What? Have what?

OH COME THE FUCK ON! Are you really that goddamn stupid? What could this possibly mean, this ‘let me have it’? It’s like she’s an alien who doesn’t understand figures of speech spending its first day in a human body. And to make it worse, she only thinks it, so it isn’t her playing coy for Christian’s benefit. It’s real.

Christian then spanks Ana with the ruler until she tells him not to anymore. Which she actually does this time. So, at least there’s that. They then proceed to have boring, normal sex bent over the pool table, and then they lie on the cold floor like the gross pigs they are. Christian orders Ana to take a bath, and it’s really kinda funny that she needs telling. This whole time (they’ve known each other for something like a month), she has only ever taken one bath voluntarily. Sexy!

After the sex, Ana wheedles and pleads for Christian to let her go to work without a body guard. He relents, on the condition that Taylor drops her off and picks her up and she does not leave the building all day. Ana agrees.

The next morning Ana remarks how nice it is to wake up next to Christian on a school day. That’s got to be a mistake. A school day? I feel like this is from the book’s original incarnation as a fanfic and no one caught it. But okay, whatever. Ana gets to work at no particular time, and her leering satyr of a boss does his leering satyr thing. He tells her he has work for her to do. The sexist pig-dog! Work! To do! At work! Well clearly Ana never, because she turns on her computer and spends the rest of the morning emailing Christian.

Christian tells her he had a great weekend and hopes she never leaves him. Ana jumps to the totally unmerited conclusion that Christian wants her to move in. She emails back, and is rudely interrupted by her boss, Jack, and his unrealistic expectation that she will do some work. He invites her to a conference, which Ana is sure is just a cover for him to sexually harass her, but she wants to go anyway.

She asks permission from Christian and he adamantly refuses. Because she needs his permission. Apparently. Ana is furious that Christian is interfering with her career and tells him off. Christian plays the “Oh I trust you, I don’t trust him” card. Which we all know is total bullshit. If only because Ana still wants to go on the trip knowing full well it is just a ploy on Jack’s part. But she still doesn’t get why Christian is mad.

There are just sooo many things wrong with this exchange, I don’t even know whose side I ought to take. I’m starting to wish that crazy ex would show up and just kill them both. Christian solves the problem by changing company policy so that everyone needs his personal permission for work related travel. Ana is furious, and Evil-Jack-Boss is all, ‘Curses! Foiled again!

They email some more, and then agree to talk about it at home. Because Ana ought to, you know, work. Or something. Somewhere in the middle of the whole debacle, Mrs Robinson writes a friendly email asking Ana to lunch. Well, it would be friendly except for the fact that she recently threatened to kill Ana. You know. That whole thing. Ana makes much of the fact that Mrs. Robinson has found her email address somehow, but really, it is probably on the company website.

Ana’s boss sends her out to buy his lunch. She *is* his personal assistant after all, and Ana is still mad at Christian so she breaks her promise not to leave the building. Of course, Christian is spying on her, and is furious about it. Ana wonders how she will cope with someone who controls her every move, but also muses that his creepy brokenness is endearing and sweet in a way. A creepy, broken way.

Back on the work front, Jack asks Ana to stay late and then makes awkward advances at her. She fends him off by revealing that she is dating The Christian Grey and he backs down, because clearly Christian is alpha as fuck. Christian picks Ana up after work, and their argument is forgotten as Ana is just so glad to be back. Ana is glad to relax and forget the drama. Which might I remind you was CAUSED by Christian.

They get home and apparently there is some kind of sexy sexy force field in the elevator. They can both feel it. They say so out loud. Ana describes it as a powerful blue aura. Apparently this is the part of the book where we stop pretending that this is not a Twilight fanfic.

Christian hits the emergency stop button, and they have sex in the elevator. Where there is very probably a camera. I bet the security guy is feeling pretty lucky! Christian grabs Ana’s panties and they ‘disintegrate in his hands.’ Oh. My. God. That’s just so wrong. They…they disintegrate? Just how long has Ana been wearing them?

Christian proclaims, “I am going to take you now.” He sounds so stilted. Christian is, like, the sexiest robot ever.

After the sex they make more stilted robot small talk.

“I need you so much.”
“And I you.”

I can guarantee, Americans doesn’t talk this way.

They have supper and talk more about Christian’s solar powered phone for the poor, which was a wind-up phone the last time we mentioned it. They joke about how Ana is ‘taming’ Christian (totally a thing that happens in real life) and then Ana shamefully admits that her boss was hitting on her. Christian threatens, once again, to fire him. He tells Ana his crazy-stalker controlling behavior is A OK because he is only trying to keep Ana safe. Sure buddy.

Ana agrees to move in with Christian only on the condition that he back the hell off. Christian is conflicted. That’s OK. That’s about the only emotional state he has. They get all emo AGAIN and I kinda want to barf.

Then all of a sudden Taylor comes in and tells Christian that Mrs. Robinson is on her way up. When asked how that is possible, given the crack security team Christian is supposed to have, Taylor just shrugs. You had one job Taylor! One job!

Ana is aghast (she often is) and instead of having Mrs. Robinson escorted out of his extremely private penthouse by his extremely expert security team, Christian is like, Meh, let’s see what happens. No matter that she has threatened to kill Ana at least twice, or that she has gotten past his security three whole times.

We close chapter 11 with the vague hope that Mrs. Robinson will just shoot them all and have done with it. Maybe it’s just me who hopes that.

Anastasia Steele and the Boring Boringness of Being Boring

Chapter 10 is weird. It wasn’t any shorter than the other chapters, but there were so few actual things that happened. Here’s the short version: our crappy couple, Asstian, wraps up the boat ride and they sail back to the marina. They have supper and then get the all clear to go back to Christian’s apartment. Finally, they have an argument and play pool.

Can we just forget Chapter 10 ever happened? It is pretty forgettable.

The long version starts off with Christian and Ana relaxing in bed. With sexy time over, Christian remembers his boat guy, who sailed off on his own so they could sex it up in peace.

“Mac will be back soon,” he murmurs sexfully.

Oh yeah! They’d better get dressed and presentable!

They make the exact opposite of witty banter, and complement each other heavily. Character Ana tells Christian how sexy he is, and Narrator Ana says I smack my lips appreciatively. I don’t even know how to mock that, because what does it even mean? Does one smack ones lips in appreciation? Is that a thing now? I think I need a how-to video on smacking my lips appreciatively.

You know, for science.

Ana reminds us *again* that they are no longer having filthy sinful sex. Now that love is on the table they are making sweet sweet love. Christian tells Ana there is a shower if she wants to wash her filthy self, and Ana reflects on how different and nurturing he acts now that they are in looooovvve. Nope. That’s how he’s always acted.

There’s some clichéd banter and a little playful grab-ass before Christian heads back above deck, and leaves Ana to her ‘scattered thoughts’. If we can properly call them thoughts.

As they day wears on, they both get kinda cranky and start snapping at each other. Fun! Ana wonders if she could ever leave Christian, “now that he’s admitted he loves me?” She decides that, no, she can’t. Even if he beats her, leaving would be a betrayal of his love.

And the beating totally wouldn’t be any kind of betrayal of anyone? Apparently not.

Christian tells Ana more about the boat and even gives her a tour, but since she has no knowledge of boats, she doesn’t bother to listen and instead hits us over the head with the THEY HAVE JUST MADE SWEET LOVE hammer. In case we had forgotten. She further muses that Christian must be a superlative lover, even though she has no basis for comparison.

Christian quotes her a line from The Little Prince about sailing. Look how cultured and mature he is, he quotes children’s books! I mean, I quote children’s books, but I’m not pretending to be mature and cultured. So there. Nyah! Ana doesn’t recognize it, but still tells Christian that she ‘adores’ The Little Prince. You know, after he tells her that it is from the Little Prince. Sure lady.

They get back to the marina, and Ana makes a huge fuss about how well Christian parks his boat. In fact, she claims a crowd gathers just to watch. He’s some kind of boat parking God. He is Parker the Great and Terrible. Fear him!

They never do explain what the crowd is there for. I assume it’s an army of Christian’s hired people, waiting there to hose down the boat with bleach now that Christian and Ana have soiled it with their filthy sinning.

We’re told that Christian’s apartment is now safe (crazy-plot-device ex is not there. For realz this time) so our couple prepare to head back. Ana asks about their luggage at the hotel, and is flabbergasted that Taylor has already gotten it. Even Christian is a bit pissed this time. He reminds Ana that it is TAYLOR’S JOB to do stuff for Christian. But once again, Ana can’t quite believe that people might do their jobs. We’ve seen her easy breezy work ethic previously, so her attitude is not surprising.

Suddenly, all this talk of Taylor and doing his job makes Christian inexplicably jealous. Christian sulks, and Ana tells him to grow up. They snap at each other awhile longer, boring us to tears in the process.

They finally, FINALLY leave the marina (one assumes they’ve been arguing in front of the crowd that gathered to watch Christian park) and head out for supper at Conveniently Located Next to the Parking Lot Bistro.

Ana gets all goggle-eyed over the décor, and tells us that there is a large photograph, “serving as a mural” on the wall. Does that make any sense to anyone else? Photos and murals are two different things. A photo serves as a photo. Why wouldn’t you just say there was a big-ass photograph on the wall and leave it at that?

Over dinner, things just get weirder. Ana grills Christian as to why he has no friends. It turns out his only friend is Mrs. Robinson, who Ana calls “the bitch-troll.” Well, now they are both good and angry. They order risotto. Then Ana decides that, since Christian is in a talkative mood, she ought to take advantage of it. They get all emo and feelsy at each other, which, frankly is just annoying at this point.

Now here’s where the crazy gets dialed way up to 11. Ana is worried that Christian will want to beat her again, and he confirms that, yes, he does in fact enjoy controlling and punishing her. BUT he promises to control himself and Ana…Ana is…upset. Upset. Two seconds ago she felt the exact opposite. Here’s an artist’s conception of me reading this:

 

But I don’t want you to stop beating me! She yells, I just want to bitch and throw a fit when you do it! Well, that’s not exactly what she says, but that’s the gist of it. Seriously. Christian is understandably confused as Ana tries to convince him that maybe he should beat her just a little, you know, to let off steam. Holy mixed messages Batman. Ana has no fucking idea what she wants. Christian tells her to hold her horses, as it’s only been one weekend since they got back together. They can work up to full-on beatings later.

Good idea.

Then suddenly, bruschetta bread and boring travel conversation happen, and then lunch is over. Ana assures us that the meal was both tasty AND filling as they drive home, but we just have to take her word for it.

She muses that Christian is still hiding something from her. Something important! And highly dramatic! I can’t wait to find out what it is! Not really. I could die happily never knowing what bullshit secret Christian is hiding. If it turns out to be anything at all.

They get back to the Escala where Christian lives, and make out in the elevator. Taylor meets them at the top, and Christian is enraged – fucking livid – when Ana makes vaguely suggestive small talk with Taylor. Christian forbids the staff from talking to Ana and Ana from talking to them other than to give orders or exchange information.

Ana apologises. She apologises for making breezy small talk with Taylor.

Then Ana heads upstairs to find clothes for work. Remember her job? It’s the one where she emails Christian all day but can’t be fired because he owns the company! When she gets to her room OMG her clothes are all gone! Her first thought is that Christian threw them all away. That’s her first thought. That’s how you know it’s a healthy relationship.

It turns out to be nothing. Again. Is it too much to ask, that just once, it turns out to be SOMETHING? Anything? But no. Christian just moved Ana’s things into his bedroom. They are in real actual love now, so its ok if they share a room, and not just get together for sex.

Still, they are both spoiling for a fight, and quickly find something else to be mad about. Ana mentions work, and Christian forbids her from working “for her safety.” Ana is furious that he is so controlling, and Christian is furious that she is so cavalier about her safety. Aren’t they perfect for each other? They are.

Christian threatens to hold Ana hostage until it is safe. Let me repeat that. He will hold her hostage until he decides it is safe. Ana realises that he could totally do that, so she decides to compromise – Ana will be allowed to work, but she must have a body guard at all times.

Then the kidnapping threats are forgotten almost immediately, as Christian takes Ana on a proper tour of his apartment. I guess Ana can only focus on one thing at a time. Look Ana! Shiny!

Ana is shocked that Taylor and the maid each have mini apartments to live in. Where did she think they stayed? In closets? Under the kitchen counters? Did she think they commute in from Narnia every day? I get that Ana is supposed to be innocent and all, but she really doesn’t even think about other people AT ALL.

The tour ends in the Beauty and the Beast Memorial Library, which we’ve already seen. Our crappy couple decide to play pool. Ana fancies herself a pool shark and challenges Christian to a game. They make a bet. A sexy bet. If Ana wins, she gets a spanking and sex in the playroom (because we know how she loooooved that the first time). If Christian wins, he gets his choice of rewards. They both make a big show of unnecessary bending and stretching, and eventually Christian is about to take the last shot. His prize? Spanking and sex RIGHT HERE! Ana is aghast as we fade to black. But Ana, LOVE IS ON THE TABLE!

Kill me.

Chapter 9 of 50 Shades Darker: Surprises on the High Seas


We ended Chapter 8 on a high note: Ana had just revealed to Christian that Christian loves Ana. He didn’t say it. She said it for him.

Ana starts Chapter 9 by claiming that she cannot contain her ‘jubilation’. And by ‘not contain’ she means that she smiles extra wide. This must be a particularly British type of jubilation. One wouldn’t want one’s jubilation to be toooo terribly, well…jubilant. Stiff upper lip and all that.

The crazy comes on hard and fast in Chapter 9, a non-stop orgasm of emo feels.

An emogasm.

There’s talk of liberation from millstones, manna from heaven, confessions and absolution, and then this: “This beautiful, fucked-up man, whom I once thought of as my romantic hero – strong, solitary, mysterious – possesses all these traits, but he’s also fragile and alienated and full of self-loathing.”

Oh GOOD! He’s all the best things, all rolled into one.

Ana’s heart grows three sizes that day, while they’re still in the shower. It’s a grower…in the shower.

Wait. Nevermind. Ana hopes her heart is big enough for both of them. Whatever that might mean. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up! Well, you can. Obviously somebody did…

Then Ana has an idea. An awful idea. The Ana has a horrible, awful idea. Wait. I think that’s a different story. The idea is: let’s have sex! Great idea Ana, I could not have foreseen this. They towel each other off. Sexfully.

Christian wraps a towel around Ana’s hair, and they stare at themselves in the mirror for a disconcerting amount of time. Ana decides the towel on her head makes her look like a biblical heroine in a Baroque painting. Like…some kind of Middle Eastern towel-head? WOW. Not one of the good people at Vintage thought that was even a little off colour? Not even a teensy tiny bit?

Apparently not, because it’s in there.

The toweling continues unabated, as Christian’s eyes get ‘darker’ and ‘more deadly.’ Ummmm…and that’s…okaaaayyyy…with everyone? I’m not even sure if he’s meant to be legitimately aggro or if it’s just a poorly chosen metaphor for desire. That’s not a good place to be as a reader. On a scale of 1 to Even, I just don’t.

Then we fade to black for the sex! Because why would there be sex in a sexy book like this here sexy book? Why indeed.

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The violins come out in full force, and we learn more about Christian’s tragic upbringing with his lame plot device of a mother. Young Christian spends days beside his dead, crack whore mother, until he is unceremoniously rescued by her pimp, and dumped into the hands of Richie Rich Senior and His wife.

When we’ve all had quite enough of this crap, Christian suggests some fresh air and a surprise! Ana likes surprises, so all is suddenly light and good again. They get dressed, “each watchful and acutely aware of the other…” Ana likens it to two people who know each other well. No Ana, that’s not how that works. Two people who are super close and comfortable aren’t hyper vigilant all the time. That’s how someone in an abusive relationship acts.

Just sayin’.

Christian gets dressed, lookin’ all like he stepped out of a Sears catalogue, and playfully threatens to beat Ana. Ana is no longer filled with dread by the prospect, because Christian loves her! And that makes it A OK! Awesome, the violence is becoming normalised. Healthy.

They head off to the surprise, and Ana gets upset because Christian tips the valet a little too well. Really? Christian is obscenely rich. He can afford a ridiculous tip. And how is it Ana’s business in the first place? It isn’t. Why can’t Ana get mad about something that is actually a problem for once? She comes off as a petty bitch.

They stop off to buy a car, and to eat lunch before the surprise. Since Ana was upset that she had the same car as all Christian’s subs, Christian agrees to buy her a different car. Ana is upset about that too. She says, “I resign myself to my fate.” Her terrible, awful, no good fate. Of being given a luxury car. For free. She does wheedle him into getting a convertible, and all is good again.

Ana flashes back to their chapter-straddling shower of emo delights. “This man,” she thinks, “God’s gift to women – loves me.” O. M. G. It’s like every cliché ever has come out to play today. Ana wonders briefly, and inexplicably if Christian will pay for the car with his own credit card, or with the butler’s credit card. Why. Would he. Do that?!The sense! It makes none.

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Lunch is boring and uneventful. We’re told that Christian outlines his corporate and philanthropic plans, but we aren’t SHOWN any of that conversation. We are just assured that it happened and that it was totally gripping. Character building at its finest.

Finally, the surprise. It’s a boat! Richie Rich Junior has a boat. Ana is astonished. She just keeps forgetting how loaded this guy is. Rich guy has a boat. Fucking unprecedented! And it’s named after Christian’s adopted mother. Ana is shocked to find that Christian loves his adoptive mother. Seriously. She had no idea. I’m concerned that Ana is always, ALWAYS surprised that other people have feelings that don’t directly involve her. It’s worrying.

Out on the boat, they make some vague entendres, and the whole afternoon is, basically, a long, poorly plotted set-up for sex on the high seas. Ana sails the boat without needing any instruction, and they hurriedly push Christian’s hired man into a dinghy to do whatever while they get it on.

Ana strips at Christian’s command. Christian’s desire is ‘evident on his face…and elsewhere.’ Really? Like where? His arm? His sternum? His spleen? We’ll never know because they just can’t say…it’s tooo naughty. Tee hee.

Ana is surprised that she is no longer embarrassed to be naked around Christian. Now that he loves her for real and for truey, she no longer feels cheap and ashamed. They are making love now! She’s no longer a sinful whore! Love really does fix everything.

The Chapter-ending sexy times commence in earnest and, as always, are perfectly choreographed. No awkward sounds or positions. Nothing to make it seem real or believable. No one has to say, “No, more like this,” or “Move your arm, you’re pulling my hair.” But I guess that’s just part of the magic that is Chapter 9. The stupid, ass-backwards, poorly thought-out magic.